Febrile infants may not need painful tests, antibiotics, hospitalizations

ScienceDaily | 2/18/2019 | Staff
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The finding has important implications for identifying cases in which infants may not need invasive medical care such spinal taps, antibiotics or hospitalizations.

The major study, which involved nearly 2000 febrile infants who were evaluated at 26 emergency departments around the country, showed how physicians can more precisely identify babies who are at low risk of serious bacterial infections such as urinary tract infections, bacteria in the blood and bacterial meningitis, in order to avoid spinal taps (also known as lumbar punctures), antibiotic medications and hospitalizations, which also carry risks and can be costly.

Study - Prediction - Rule - Infants - Days

The study, "A clinical prediction rule to identify febrile infants 60 days and younger at low risk for serious bacterial infections," is online today in JAMA Pediatrics.

The new protocol, which could be implemented following a larger validation study, would enhance decision-making for emergency room providers and bring relief to the parents of many of the nearly half-million febrile infants who are evaluated in U.S. emergency departments each year.

Infection - Infant - Complications - Physicians - Procedures

"Missing a serious bacterial infection in an infant can lead to severe complications, which is why physicians traditionally have been very cautious and included invasive procedures, medications and hospitalizations when evaluating these infants," said Nathan Kuppermann, professor and chair of emergency medicine at UC Davis School of Medicine and lead author of the study. "We were able to derive and validate a prediction rule, essentially a mathematical tool for physicians to confidently make clinical decisions about young infants with fevers to identify those who are at low risk of serious bacterial infections."

Fewer than 10 percent of infants evaluated for fever in emergency departments in the United States typically have serious or potentially life-threatening bacterial infections. However, because of their age and the standard treatment guidelines, many must undergo invasive testing, be hospitalized and given antibiotic treatments until bacterial infection can ruled...
(Excerpt) Read more at: ScienceDaily
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